Visit the 300-year-old Thanh Tien bougainvillea village in Hue

At the end of the year, Thanh Tien village artisans are busy crafting colorful handmade paper flowers to serve the Lunar New Year.

Located along the lower reaches of the Perfume River, about 8 km from Truong Tien Bridge, Thanh Tien village in Phu Mau commune, Hue city, has been famous for its paper flower making profession for 300 years. Thanh Tien paper flower craft village was recognized by the People’s Committee of Thua Thien Hue province as a traditional craft village in 2013.

The people of Thanh Tien village mainly work as farmers. At some times of the year, especially in December (the 12th lunar month), people return to making paper flowers to serve the needs of the Lunar New Year. Photo: Nguyen Thu

The advantages of Thanh Tien paper flowers are rich in color, beautiful in form, long-lasting, both economical and show solemnity and respect. In ancient times, bougainvillea flowers were placed in places of worship in homes, temples, shrines, temples, altars of ancestors, kitchen gods, and were only replaced once a year during the Lunar New Year. Therefore, the official production time of this craft is mainly in December. Photo: Nguyen Dinh Hoang Khanh

The people of Thanh Tien village use locally available materials such as cypress and bamboo combined with imagination and skillful hands to simulate flowers such as orchids, lilies, single chrysanthemums, and chrysanthemums. double, wall vines, wild sunflowers.

Among them, the most famous is the lotus, which is considered the national flower of Vietnam. Thanh Tien paper lotus flowers appear in major festivals such as Hue Festival, Ao Dai festival, cultural and artistic exchange programs, displayed in Hue Citadel and Nguyen Chi Dieu Memorial House, Thanh Tien village, Phu Mau commune, Hue city. Photo: Nguyen Dinh Hoang Khanh

Before Hue entered the rainy season, the family of artisan Nguyen Hoa and Ms. Tran Thi Thanh Tam (pictured) prepared materials to make paper flowers. Mrs. Tam said her family has been making paper flowers for more than 40 years. Currently in the village there are about 10 households still maintaining this traditional profession. Photo: Nguyen Dinh Hoang Khanh

A characteristic feature of Thanh Tien village paper flowers is that all production stages are done by hand. The main materials for making paper flowers are bamboo and colored paper.

Since the 8th lunar month, Mrs. Tam and her husband have been cutting bamboo planted in their backyard to split and dry to make flower stems. Photo: Nguyen Dinh Hoang Khanh

The bamboo sticks are split into small pieces, rounded, dyed and dried, then hand-curled into shape to make branches and flower stems. Photo: Nguyen Dinh Hoang Khanh

To create different types of flowers, artisans use iron chisels to punch colored paper on wooden flower molds, then use wire to create folds and lines. The final step is to glue the pistil, also made from colored paper, to form a complete flower before grafting it onto the stem. Photo: Nguyen Dinh Hoang Khanh

Previously, like other households making paper flowers in Thanh Tien, Mr. Hoa’s family used resin and leaves to make dyes according to a family recipe. Nowadays, to reduce the dyeing process, families often buy pre-made colored paper. Photo: Nguyen Dinh Hoang Khanh

A complete branch of Thanh Tien bougainvillea includes many types of flowers such as orchids, lilies, roses, chrysanthemums, wild sunflowers, and hyssop. On the branches are attached red flower buds and long green rice leaves, symbolizing typical local farming. Photo: Nguyen Dinh Hoang Khanh

The completed flower branches were attached by Mrs. Tam to a bamboo stick wrapped in straw. Mrs. Tam said that this year, her family made about 10,000 branches of paper flowers to sell during Tet. Usually after the full moon of December, people in the village will carry bougainvillea trees to sell. Each pair of flowers costs 10,000 VND. Photo: Nguyen Dinh Hoang Khanh

Nguyen Dinh Hoang Khanh, 30 years old, Ho Chi Minh City, a blogger who loves learning about culture and history, visited Thanh Tien paper flower village at the end of the year. The main occupation of the people here is farming, so the road to the village is mostly vast rice fields, bringing a peaceful feeling. But when entering the house of the paper flower artisans, Khanh was surprised by eye-catching colors such as yellow, red, and blue appearing everywhere, making the space lively and vibrant.

He was most impressed with the lotus flower in terms of authenticity and meticulousness in the steps. The flower buds have a certain spread from the flower tip to the stem. Each lotus petal is made into small, even folds. “If you don’t look closely, it’s hard to tell the difference between real and fake,” Khanh said. Photo: Nguyen Dinh Hoang Khanh

Over a long time, Thanh Tien bougainvillea has become a cultural feature of the people of Hue and has spread to neighboring provinces such as Quang Tri and Da Nang.

Every year, Thanh Tien paper village welcomes a number of tourists from abroad to visit and directly experience the paper flower making stages at the facility. Besides, the village is also a location chosen by many schools for students to learn about local culture and traditional craft villages. Photo: Nguyen Thu

($1~24,000 VND)
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